It was a great shame to have to leave Spain. We desperately wanted to see Caceres this trip but last night in Salamanca the temperature dropped to minus two and this was not really what we left England for. Let’s get the flock outta here! It’s actually warmer in Derbyshire!! We’re more or less straight onto the Autovia from this site and we point Dolly in the general direction of the Border. We fill up with fuel at Cuidad Rodrigo en route. This town looked well worth a look and the guide book said good things about it. Sadly we couldn’t find anywhere to park our big bus, smaller vans would be fine. Diesel was certainly a much healthier price at €1.24 per litre compared to €1.66 in France!! From Salamanca, you cross over into Portugal near to Vilar Formoso. If you intend to use the toll roads and inevitably you will end up doing even if it’s by accident, it’s best to register your credit card at the border. This is for the electronic toll roads only. You will see this symbol:-
There are only toll gates on the border, you won’t get another chance further on. The gates look like this:-
Make sure you go to a barriered gate. Simply follow the instructions using the higher of the sets of buttons (sometimes the lower ones will only read cars not higher vehicles). Once your card is registered the toll fee will automatically be deducted as you drive along. It’s really easy. If you have any problem just press the intercom button. They speak excellent English and will guide you through the process. If you end up on an electronic toll road and don’t manage to register then pick up a toll card from any post office. Telephone the number on the card and register rather than trying to do it on line. The staff speak very good English. They take a mobile number and text you when your credit is running out. Its a very good system once you are familiar with it. The manual tolls are different. Don’t be tempted to go through the barrier free gates marked with a V.
This is only for drivers with a prepaid transponder. Go to the barrier and take a ticket. You will pay when you exit the stretch of road by inserting your ticket in one slot then card or cash in the other. If you don’t have a ticket you will need to press the intercom and you will be charged for the whole stretch of road. An expensive mistake. Made that one!! Cost us thirty quid instead of about three, ouch!
So we’re heading to a small village called Castelo Mendo a few miles inside the Portuguese border. It has a free Aire. No services but a public loo. We arrive late afternoon and what a pleasant surprise.
It’s a charming little village with wonderful views over a green valley. The only sound is the tinkling of bells from a herd of goats grazing below us and the birds singing. It’s a step back in time for sure.
At the top of the village there’s a ruined fortress and ancient church. Parts of the old walls are still in situ. There’s a small cafe in the centre of the village. We were approached by a lovely local lady who took me to her house where she made and sold sheep and goats cheese and distilled Port and cherry liquor. Another local offered us fruit, home made jam, honey and home grown garlic. We collected our own fresh figs and walnuts growing wild. What a totally fab little place!
A great start to Portugal 🇵🇹
We woke up early next morning. Our body clocks are all messed up with the time changes, backwards and forwards!! It’s lovely and sunny. Got to love a blue sky. We breakfasted on toast with the local goats cheese, honey and walnuts. Life is good. Time to set that there sat nav again.
Next stop is the historic City of Tomar. Very excited to be going there, we missed it last trip. It has an amazing Castle.
Hope you can join us next time folks. Signing off as my navigational skills are required!!
Cheerio for now. Have a marvellous day wherever you are. Make each one count, you never know when it will be your last!